Peter Cowdrey won music scholarships to Winchester College and Trinity College, Cambridge, and studied composition with Oliver Knussen. He wrote an opera, Zeller, for Cambridge University Opera Society. After leaving Cambridge he helped to start the performing arts department at a University in Tonga where he developed an interest in world music.
As composer his commissions include Land of the Prophets, for flute and strings, premiered in the Royal Albert Hall by Wissam Boustany, and A Garden amidst Flames, the result of a year long project working with Turkish Classical musicians, commissioned jointly by the Istanbul Festival and the British Council and performed in a Basilica in Istanbul. His works were featured in a three concert series in the Purcell Room in 1995. He is a member of the music theatre group Talking Trombones, for which he writes in collaboration with the poet Henry Shukman.
As a pianist he played Charles Ives’ first piano sonata on tour in South America, and he recently organised an Ives evening at Birmingham Conservatoire. He is also Music Director for Opera Anywhere.
Last summer Peter’s song cycle In Nature’s Ball was premiered at the Sunningwell Festival, and he recently finished a string quartet for The Brodskys, and a chamber work, Songbirds, entirely derived from the songs of about thirty bird species. Future plans include an opera based on wine diaries by Michael Broadbent for Opera Anywhere, with a libretto by Hamish Robinson.